|Tahini Quick Facts|
|Major nutrients||Copper (26.89%)
Total Fat (23.03%)
Vitamin B1 (15.25%)
|Health benefits||Healthy amount of fats, Source of minerals and vitamins, Sustain cholesterol and blood pressure, Positive effect on hormones, Required for healthy skin|
Tahini which is store bought is made from hulled sesame seeds. But it could be made from unhulled and sprouted sesame seeds as well. Hulled seeds have lighter color whereas unhulled seeds are darker in color.
The word Tahini is derived from Arabic word tˤaħiːna (طحينة) means “to grind.” The term “tahini” appeared by late 1930s in English. An unprocessed and plain sesame paste with none of the ingredients added as known as raw tahini.
Sesame was mentioned in a cuneiform document that have been written 4000 years ago which describes the habitual action of serving sesame wine to the gods. Herodotus, a historian, wrote about sesame cultivation 3500 years ago in the Tigris region and Euphrates river in Ancient Iraq. Mainly, it is cultivated for the source of oil.
Tahini is acknowledged as an ingredient of hummus kasa which is a recipe that have been transcribed in 13th centuryArabic cookbook named Kitab Wasf al-Atima al-Mutada. The paste made from sesame is used as an ingredient in Korean, Chinese and Japanese dishes.
Health benefits of Tahini
Listed below are some of the health benefits provided by Tahini:
- Healthy amount of fats
Sesame seeds contain high content of oil by weight so tahini is silky smooth in comparison to other nut butters. It consists of 20 percent protein and 55 percent oil, both of which are well-known for essential amino acids and healthy fats. Due to its rich and nutty flavor, it is used in various recipes. Additionally, it benefits hormones, heart and also skin health. The fat in tahini is made up of beneficial compounds such as sesamolin and sesamin. It also contains linoleic acid, phenolic compounds, gamma tocopherol, oleic acid and amino acids such as tryptophan, lysine and methionine.
- Source of minerals and vitamins
Tahini incorporates B vitamins such as thiamine along with minerals such as phosphorus, copper, magnesium, zinc, iron and manganese. The addition of tahini to the recipes is a good way to get copper that is essential for maintaining bone, nerve and metabolic health and also prevents deficiency of copper. It also holds iron that assists in preventing anemia that is a disorder represented by low counts of red blood cells, fatigue and iron deficiency. Vitamin A and B are crucial for metabolic functions, cognitive processes and also deals with stress.
- Sustain cholesterol and blood pressure
Sesame seeds include antithrombotic properties that prevent the risk of cardiovascular problems and the effects in arteries such as cardiovascular health and acute coronary syndrome. Sesame seeds hold a type of nutrient named phytosterols that has effect on arterial health, hormonal levels and cholesterol levels. Plantsterols found in tahini are known as beta-sitosterol. Phytosterols is helpful in preventing arteriosclerosis which is caused by fatty buildup in arteries. It also improves cholesterol in body.
Sesame seeds are also a good source of plant lignans that progress blood lipid profiles and also manages blood pressure as well as cholesterol. Research has shown the ability of lignans to reduce liver cholesterol levels and serum blood cholesterol. It has positive effect on total cholesterol; improve good cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol.
- Positive effect on hormones
Phytoestrogens remained a controversial topic when it comes to the effect on hormones. As phytoestrogens act as estrogen antagonists and estrogen that makes it confusing to figure out. It affects body by attaching to estrogen receptors that confuses body on knowing either it has less or more estrogen.
Bad reputation is got by estrogen building foods. Not all the effects of phytoestrogens are bad. In post-menopausal women, they have low estrogen so the foods rich in phytoestrogen could be helpful to balance hormones naturally and maintain strong bones by reducing the chances of various diseases such as osteoporosis and cancer. In fact, increase in intake of phytoestrogen might be harmful as it could counteract some effects of hormonal imbalances which women experience as they become older. Studies have found out that the increase in phytoestrogens lowers menopausal symptoms such as bone loss, hot flashes, low sex drive, mood changes and weakness.
- Required for healthy skin
Sesame seeds have abundant amounts of vitamin E, amino acids, vitamin B, fatty acids and trace minerals that assist in rejuvenation of skin cells and also prevents the signs of aging. An intake of tahini also promotes skin integrity by enhancing fat as well as nutrient intake.
The oil extracted from sesame is used for treating burns, skin wounds, dryness and sensitivities so sometimes it is also known as “the queen of oils”. It contains antifungal and antibacterial properties that eliminate bacteria which could clog pores. The healthy fats are essential for making skin moist and to reduce inflammation. It also contribute minerals such as zinc that are required for repairing damaged tissue and form collagen that maintains the firmness and elasticity of skin.
- Absorb nutrients
Studies shows that sesame seeds enhance the absorption of protective fat soluble compounds such as tocopherol which is a major nutrient in Vitamin E that has vital role in preventing the diseases as person ages such as heart disease and cancer. The effects of consumption of seeds significantly increase sefum gamma tocopherol levels. Sesame helps to promote plasma gamma tocopherol and bioactivity of Vitamin E that is effective to prevent oxidative stress, inflammation and development of other chronic ailments.
How to make?
- 1 cup sesame seeds
- Salt (optional)
- 2 tbsp. of mild olive oil, grapeseed oil
- Measuring cups and spoons
- Wooden spoon
- Skillet or rimmed baking sheet
- Food processor or blender
- Storage container
- Toast the raw sesame seeds till it is lightly colored for about five minutes so that gets a nuttier flavor. Then transfer it to a large plate and let it cool down completely.
- Put the toasted sesame seeds in a blender or food processor.
- Grind the sesame seeds for about 2 to 3 minutes till it form a crumbly paste.
- Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a blender and process it for 1 to 2 minutes. The mixture forms a thick and fairly smooth paste.
- To make tahini thinner, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil and process till desired consistency is achieved.
- Add salt to taste which is an optional and process till it is combined.
- Store it in a jar or an airtight container. It could be stored for a month or longer in a refrigerator.
How to Eat
- Make Tahini sauce by adding salt, lemon juice, garlic and thinned with water. It could be used as toppings for meat or vegetables in Middle Eastern cuisine.
- Tahini could be used as a sauce to put in lahmajoun in Armenia.
- Tahini is combined with pekmez in Turkey to make tahin-pekmez.
- In Iraq, Tahini is combined with date syrup for making a sweet dessert which is usually consumed with bread.
- In Cyprus, Tahini is used as a dip for bread.
- Tahini is used as a spread on bread by topping with jam or honey in Greece.
- It is predominant food in Israel.
- It is used as a dip with pita or flat bread, topping for sabich, falafel, shwarma and Jerusalem mixed grill.
- Use it as a cooking sauce for fish and meat and also in sweet desserts such as halva parfait, halva, tahini cookies and halva ice cream.
- In East Asia, it is used in dry noodles either hot or cold.
- It could be consumed as a dessert.
- Serve it as a starter with salads and mezze or as a topping in wraps and sandwiches.
- Tahini could be mixed with dressings for creamy coleslaw, roasted vegetables and sauces for Asian dishes.
- Blend tahini with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and fresh turmeric to make a salad dressing.
- It could be mixed into stir-fried dishes.
- Combine it with mashed avocados to make it super healthy.
- Use it as a spread on breakfast toast.
- Avoid by allergic people.
- Allergic people might experience symptoms such as nasal itching, sneezing, rhinorrhea, congestion and respiratory problems such as coughing, wheezing, difficulty in breathing and tightness in throat.
- Consume it in moderate amounts.